Auxiliary β1 subunits of voltage-gated sodium channels-(NaChs) critically regulate channel activity and may also act as cell adhesion molecules (CAMs). In a recent study we have shown that the expression of β1 NaCh protein is increased in reactive astrocytes in a rat epilepsy model of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. The present study was undertaken to examine whether changes of NaCh β1 subunit protein expression are also associated with structural changes occurring in human reactive astrocytes under different pathological conditions in vivo, as well as in response to changing environmental conditions in vitro. Strong β1 astroglial immunoreactivity was present in human brain tissue from patients with astrogliosis. The overexpression of β1 protein in reactive glia was observed in both epilepsy-associated brain pathologies (temporal lobe epilepsy, cortical dysplasia), as well as non-epileptic (cerebral infarction, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, meningo-encephalitis) disorders. The up-regulation of β1 subunit protein in astrocytes can be reproduced in vitro. β1 protein is highly expressed in human astrocytes cultured in the presence of trophic factors, under conditions in which they show morphology similar to the morphology of cells undergoing reactive gliosis. The growth factor-induced overexpression of β1 protein was abrogated by PD98059, which inhibits the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. These findings demonstrate that the expression of NaCh β1 subunit protein in astrocytes is plastic, and indicate a novel mechanism for modulation of glial function in gliosis-associated pathologies.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 1 May 2003|